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A former senior diplomat at Iran’s embassy in Helsinki, who resigned and joined the opposition, said Thursday he had been granted political asylum by Finland only weeks after applying for it.

Hossein Alizadeh, deputy head of mission at the Iranian embassy until early last month, was at least the third Iranian diplomat this year to seek political asylum in Europe, all saying they were protesting against electoral and human rights abuses.

“I have political asylum and refugee status. I got it yesterday. It was given to my whole family, we are five,” Alizadeh told Reuters, adding that he was very happy with the swift decision on his case.

Finnish authorities were not available to comment, but an unnamed official told the biggest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, that Alizadeh’s asylum application had been processed quickly because of the way Iran was treating members of the opposition.

“The reasons are crystal clear,” the official said.

Iranian diplomats have also sought political asylum in Norway and Belgium this year. Reuters

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